More often than not, I have encountered many Muslim parents who share a failed relationship. Their failed relationship shows that their upbringing has failed miserably. Kids have been mentally affected, and mental health is the last thing on Asian Muslim parents’ minds. Apart from that, they don’t set an example for successful marriages. Hence young adults tend to fret about marriages.
While every parent wants their kids to grow up obedient, successful, and good, they forget that parents are the ones who set the ground. It’s easy for the parents to shape their kids as they want, but that should be done from the early childhood stages. Unfortunately, it’s widespread to encounter toxic relationship between parents in Asian families.
In most homes, father figures are considered strict and distant, and mothers are tolerant and loving. Parents themselves treat each other like strangers, and kids hardly see the love between them. They often find a boss-worker relationship between mother and father, which isn’t healthy. The father takes most decisions concerning the child’s life. Or extended family gets involved in parents’ decisions about the child’s life.
This is not solely about parenting. This is more about how you should live as a couple to lead a successful life to set an example for your kids. Now, let’s see what Islam says about this.
Set Allah in Front Before Anything Else
Setting Allah in front before anything else is the secret sauce for any relationship. Be it the relationship between couples, parents, or siblings. He is the very creator of every relationship; thus, forgetting Him would put relationships off hand.
We don’t often see Asian Muslim parents praying together or reciting together. They wouldn’t spend time talking to each other about Allah (SWT). They’d engage in talking about worldly things, but that doesn’t mean we should 24/7 talk about Allah and spend time doing religious activities. Instead, we should invest time in reciting, praying as a couple. It gives a sense of enlightenment and happiness.
The parents’ relationship with Allah is an essential dimension that kids need to explore. The relationship between Allah and parents should be on love, hope, and education rather than fear. They should base their relationship on Allah’s validation.
When parents center Allah in their relationship, it becomes an interdependent relationship and not co-dependent. It shows that relationships should be two-sided. Both individuals should feel nurtured, respected, valued, and loved. Like I mentioned earlier, in Asian parents, what we often see is codependency.
If the parents work on connecting with Allah, they’d be able to create a sustainable relationship that kids will look up to.
Show Love and Affection to One Another
Although Islam hasn’t set barriers concerning this, most parents in Asian communities hardly show love and affection. However, religion isn’t the only element that plays a part here; instead, it is also about the culture. The loveless and affectionless relationship shared between parents becomes a reason that young adults tend to avoid marriages. But the impact is not only on young adults but also on kids.
A few days before, I heard a neighborhood kid say to one of his friends, “oh, why are you cleaning? It’s girls’ work. You shouldn’t do it.” I was stunned. After a few minutes, I explained to the kids that it’s not correct to speak that way, and he shouldn’t be considering it girls’ work.
Later that day, when I talked to mom, she explained why kids had developed such a mentality. They only see their mothers do all the household chores, grocery shopping, and whatnot! They see dad only as someone who makes money for the family. Of course, it’s not wrong to earn for your family, but letting one person shoulder all the other work is not what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has taught us.
“The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character. And the best of you are those who are best to their women.” (At-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Al-Albani)
Nothing is more potent than what parents portray to their kids. Parents must be visible and open about their love and affection so that children understand what love is and how they should treat their loved ones. It’s essential to practice the habit of valuing and appreciating the work done by the partner. This provides a life lesson for the child to carry forward.
Asian parents don’t pay much attention to demonstrating love because they find it “inappropriate.” When children don’t witness their parents hugging, kissing, and showing love, they tend to grow uncomfortable with intimacy. This applies to children who grow up in violent homes as well.
Being Supportive of Each Other and Fulfilling Duties
Although it’s rare to see Asian Muslim mothers going to work, some mothers do it. They also manage household chores, responsibilities of children while earning for the family. In this case, it’s important for both the mother and father to find time for themselves and their children. This might require a lot of support and commitment but isn’t it all worth it for happy family life?
Most Asian Muslim fathers are sole breadwinners, so things get hectic in such homes. It’s hard to see husband and wife spending time together, cooking together, or spending time with children. But if you chose to get married, you should be ready to commit yourself to make it a success!
As reported by Abu Hurairah (RA): Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “A dinar you spend in Allah’s way, or to free a slave, or as a charity you give to a needy person, or to support your family, the one yielding the greatest reward is that which you spend on your family.” [Muslim]
According to the above hadith, it’s clear that spending time with your family is a great reward that you can make it work effortlessly. On top of all, it’s important to let the children understand that Islam doesn’t promote gender-roles. Both husband and wife need to set examples by cooking together, washing dishes together, and bringing up children together.
A happy family is a long-term commitment!